Stephanie Solanki, 10/22/12

For today’s seminar class, we were asked to write a reactionary piece for the poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” by Walt Whitman.¬†First off, I had to read this poem a few times before I understood what Whitman was trying to say. It is a very deep poem, filled with meaning in every word. I did like it very much after I understood it.

I imagine the speaker of the poem looking into the water beneath the Brooklyn Bridge when he was writing this poem. Interestingly, he addressed inanimate parts of the scenery like the sun and the clouds as “you,” yet he thought the commuters and everyone else on the bridge was “curious.” This led me to believe that he felt more of a connection to the scenery than the people. The people just passed by on the bridge, but the sun, clouds, and seagulls were always there. I thought that it was interesting that he felt a connection with “the others that are to follow [him].” He felt a connection with the people of the future, but could not with the people of the present. He felt a connection with the future through this bridge. The people who were to follow him will see the same things he saw when he wrote this poem. He says “I am with you” to the people who will cross the Brooklyn Bridge after him. He then paints a picture through words of the city he sees in front of him with “granite storehouses,” “fires from the chimney,” and “the stately and rapid river.” He says that these things are the same to him as they are to future generations.

I believe that then he was talking about the rough and hard life one has when living in the city. He says that he has “felt their arms on [his] neck” as if the people of the city were trying to strangle him. Later on, he told the scenery to keep doing what it had been doing because it was what kept the future and the past linked.